The start of any calendar year marks a change in most online sites’ lineups of sponsored pros and brand ambassadors. That’s true no more clearly than at 888poker, which just days after ending its long-running association with Swedish pro Sofia Lövgren has announced its signing of British pro boxer Chris Eubank, Jr.
Eubank Jr., a two-time IBO-super middleweight champion remains an active boxer, with his next scheduled fight coming up in February against Liam Williams. Yet poker has always been one of Eubank’s loves. “Poker is one of the great passions in my life, so I am delighted to partner with 888poker,” Eubank said. “For me, the beauty of poker is in its community, and 888poker is doing a fantastic job of making poker more about the fun and less about the grind for players at all levels with its user-friendly platform.”
Eubank has competed in poker events before on a limited basis, including appearances on “Late Night Poker” and at 888live events. He’ll now have the chance to play much more under the 888 flag as his boxing career moves into its later years. “I’m excited to officially kick-start the partnership in the coming months and can’t wait to meet the 888poker community at the tables,” he added.
888poker’s signing of Eubank represents a goal that most online poker sites share, in finding brand representatives who can bring a brand in front of new audiences. No matter how famed a true poker “professional” may be, that player’s fame and value to a site largely exists only inside of poker, to players and fans already familiar with the game, and in the case of online poker, to whatever sites are currently available. Celebrities and famed athletes are unique in the type of market access they can provide on their side of such a partnership.
Eubank joins as 888 enters 20th Anniversary year
The news of Eubank’s signing came immediately after long-time Team 888 pro Lövgren announced that her eight-year deal with 888 had finally come to an end. Eubanks also becomes the first new signee for 888 of 2022, the year in which 888poker celebrates its 20th anniversary.
And yet the site’s 20th anniversary celebrations won’t be including the popular Lovgren, who had become one of the site’s visible fixtures on the international poker scene. “After 8 amazing years with @888poker,” Lövgren announced on social media last week, “it is time for a new chapter. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with so many nice people on 888. This global platform allowed me to meet so many nice people around the world.”
Lövgren’s long tenure with 888 illustrates her considerable value to the the brand, but it’s one of the unfortunate truisms of the poker business that any player’s marketing value wanes over time. Much of an ambassador’s value is directly tied to how many new players that ambassador attracts to a site, but the longer a deal is in place, the less “new” faces drawn in by that famed player exist to be claimed as customers. No matter how deep the well, metaphorically speaking, it eventually dries up.
888poker confirmed Lövgren’s departure, posting, “After more than 7 years as an #888poker ambassador, it’s time for us to part ways with @Sofia_Lovgren. We wish her all the best and nothing but success in her future endeavours!”
The full extent to which 888 is shifting its brand-representative look remains to be seen. Eubank and his mainstream fame represent opportunity, not necessarily an assured market gain. Besides, 888 is hardly deserting pro-player scene. Numerous other pros remain part of the site’s various lineups, including everything from Team 888 to its Twitch-based 888poker StreamTeam. In September, 888poker also announced two new poker-pro faces, in American Sam Abernathy and Canadian Jordan Banfield. As with many sites, 888 balances its brand-representative lineup between the various markets and jurisdictions it serves, as all these brand-repping deals show.
Featured image source: 888poker